Public consultation to inform Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

The Minister for Veterans' Affairs, the Hon Darren Chester MP, is leading a public consultation process to inform the Terms of Reference for a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. The Royal Commission will be independent of government, DVA and Defence. 

A key step in setting up this Royal Commission is to establish its Terms of Reference.  The Terms of Reference set out what the Royal Commission will cover and report on.

Minister Chester is seeking your views on the Terms of Reference to make sure they capture the issues that are important to people.

Current serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, veterans, families, ex-service organisations, states and territories, peak bodies and other interested stakeholders are encouraged to have their say about what the Royal Commission should consider in conducting its work.

The Royal Commission will focus on understanding the risk factors contributing to defence and veteran deaths by suicide, and what governments, organisations and the community can do to reduce lives lost to suicide.

The Government has released themes for consultation and welcomes your feedback on these to inform the Terms of Reference.  You can provide feedback using the form below. Feedback closes at 5pm on Friday 21 May 2021.

Please note, this consultation does not seek details of personal experiences, or specific information on past cases of deaths by suicide.  At this time, the Royal Commission has not been formally established.  There will be a time to tell your story once the Royal Commission is operating. Processes for engaging with the Royal Commission, including opportunities to make submissions, will be determined by the Royal Commission once established, and will be widely advertised.

Privacy statement

You can read DVA’s privacy statement in regard to this consultation process here


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Q5. Proposed themes the Royal Commission will consider in its inquiry

  • Systemic issues and analysis of the contributing risk factors relevant to defence and veteran death by suicide, including:
    • Contribution of pre-service, service (including training), transition and post-service issues
    • The relevance of issues such as service, posting history and rank of the defence member or veteran
    • The manner of the recruitment of the person into the Australian Defence Force
    • The manner in which a person transitioned from the Australian Defence Force
    • The availability, quality and effectiveness of health, wellbeing and support services
    • How information about individuals is shared by and within the government
    • How matters of individuals’ mental and physical health are captured during enlistment and during and after service
    • The quality and availability of support services for families, friends and colleagues affected by a defence and veteran death by suicide
    • The risk factors of defence members and veterans who have attempted or contemplated suicide or have other lived experiences of suicide.
  • The protective and rehabilitative factors for defence members and veterans who have attempted or contemplated suicide or have other lived experiences of suicide.
  • The engagement of defence members and veterans with Commonwealth, State or Territory Governments about support services, claims or entitlements.

Q6. Other issues the Royal Commission should have regard to

The Royal Commission will be asked to make any recommendations, including recommendations about any policy, legislative, administrative or structural reforms.

The Royal Commission will be asked to have regard to:

  • Previous relevant reports and inquiries
  • The work of the interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention
  • The support available to members and veterans of other defence forces, particularly in Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States
  • The role of government and non-government organisations
  • Support services for families and others impacted by defence and veteran death by suicide
  • Opportunities to promote the understanding of suicide risks and protective factors in the defence and general community.

Q7. How the Royal Commission will conduct its inquiry

  • The Royal Commission will not be required to inquire into matters that it is satisfied have been dealt with by other inquiries, investigations or criminal or civil proceedings. Further, it will not be required to make findings of civil or criminal wrongdoing or findings about individual defence and veteran deaths by suicide.
  • The Royal Commission will be asked to focus on systemic issues, recognising that they will be informed by individual experiences and may need to make referrals to appropriate authorities.